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Snowdonia Peaks

Friday, 14 December 2012

MOEL SIABOD 13-12-12

As I seem to have an extended pre Christmas break, I thought that I would take advantage of the fine, sunny, crisp winter weather we have had of late. I have wanted to get to Snowdonia to have a look at the snow covered mountains for some time but never really took the chance. I have never done any real winter mountain walks as I don't have the right equipment, ice axe & crampons, and don't really intend to do anything that comes that way. I have a pair of the mirospikes that would help on more frozen snow & ice that you can come across on more level ground and these got there first taste of that on this walk. Checking the weather forecasts and webcams all week, shows that the snow lines had reduced and the days and nights were quite clear, giving me the opportunity to go to my favourite Snowdonia mountain and have a good day in the winter sunshine.
So an early start it was then and leaving my options open if the terrain was to get to difficult. The plan was to go up Moel Siabod from Capel Curig, up the Daear Ddu Ridge to the summit and then along the crest and down to the main track. If that was to prove to be a bit dangerous with snow & ice, I would of just gone to a few more low level places for a look round. As it happens, all was well and another fantastic day on this fantastic mountain was had.
A quick stop off at the ogwen valley, with the mighty Tryfan on the right, as the sun was just about to come up
I made my way to the Plas-y-Brenin Mountain Centre to get a quick photo of the Snowdon Horseshoe as the first light of the day hits Snowdon's summit from across the frozen lakes
I got parked up at the Bry Glo Cafe about 8.15 and started walking at 8.30 with the temperature a very cool -7.5degrees! Although it was cold I knew that I'd be walking in the sun for most of the day and as soon as I had made my way up the steep lane and came out of the wooded area near to the farm, the views started to open up and the way ahead was all clear apart from a few dozen sheep blocking the ladder stile.

looking back down the valley towards a frozen Capel Curig 

I made steady progress and was soon at the unamed lake which was well frozen over
I was quite warm now after walking in the sun but as I had to go through the old quarry that was in the shade, you could feel the temperature drop a notch or two.
From here it was a steady climb up following a stream and scree path that was frozen but made it more easy as there wasn't really any lose rocks. Also, the boggy ground next to the path was also solid so it was quite a clean walk and a lot easier than the warmer months where the ground can be quite wet
The top of this ridge gave me the first views of the Daear Ddu Ridge and the crest I was to be going up and along and also Llyn y Foel and its bog field!

As everywhere seemed to be frozen I took the chance to go down by the Llyn and have a walk along the shore. Quite impossible at other times of the year so it made for a very pleasant change. It was well frozen over and made for  a good photo or two
I decided to walk round to the other side for a rest while taking in the views of my route around this great place
 After about 20 minutes it was time for the ascent, knowing that I could turn back at any time if there was too much snow and ice on the ridge. Looking up from below it all looked good and so it proved. There was patches of snow and it was only the last 100 metres or so that I felt it right to put my spikes on. Another great scramble up this fine ridge was had
As I topped out on the summit, the views over towards Snowdon, the Glyderau & Carneddau were well worth the effort and there was quite a bit of snow on all those tops
Although the northern part of Snowdonia was in the clear, towards the south there was quite a haze and quite a bit of cloud

I made my way down towards the crest and the ground was solid. I had put my spikes away as I didn't feel the need to use them on the flat ground ahead.
The ground was solid all the way and it proved to be very steady going with no mishaps. You could see where people had been these last few days when the snow was soft and some of the foot holes were knee deep in places. Today though was just nice crisp and even and looking back towards the summit shows how flat it all seemed
A great way off Siabod and some great views across to the peaks and also down the gullies showing just how steep they drop
The way down was to follow another scree path and stream bed which was also frozen over. Again it seemed to make it a bit more easy as there was no loose rocks and everywhere was dry and solid. Obviously care was needed near the ice but as the surrounding grass/bog was all solid it made for a pleasant change
After I had got down I decided that I'd go and have a look around some other old quarry building just off the main track. They are not easily seen and most people propably miss them altogether. Quite an interesting place
From here it was a straight walk back to the car and getting back about 3pm made it a great 6 and half hours in this most fascinating place. All what was left to do was to go back to the Plas y Benin for another look at the Snowdon Horseshoe as the sun was going down
A fantastic day in fantastic weather in a fantastic place